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8% for the first time since january 2009. president obama cheered the figures; mitt romney criticized the administration for not creating enough jobs. good evening. i'm judy woodruff. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the newshour tonight, what do the numbers tell us about the true state of the labor market? we get an assessment. >> woodruff: then, gwen ifill reports on missouri's senate contest where the democratic incumbent has unexpectedly grabbed the lead. >> this the united states senate. mark shields an david brooks >> brown: mark shields and david brooks analyze the weeks news. >> woodruff: and ray suarez previews another political match to watch, thousands of miles south in venezuela, where long- time leader hugo chavez faces a young challenger. >> the election marks a watershed moment for the world's second largest oil producing nation. and a critical supplier of crude oil to the u.s. its number one customer. >> woodruff: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: carnegie corp >> and with the ongoing suppo
. >> woodruff: today at a campaign event in washington, president obama shared a message of what he called "economic patriotism" tied to a strong middle class. >> but our problems can be solved, our challenges can be met. we've still got the workers in the world, the best universities, the best scientists, the best... we got the best stuff. ( laughter ) we just got to bring it together. >> woodruff: consumer confidence is higher of late, and the president may be getting a boost from voter attitudes. an nbc news/"wall street journal" poll out last week found 42% of americans think the economy will improve in the next year. that's six points higher than a month ago. 18% say the economy will worsen, and almost a third expect it to stay the same. the obama campaign is also pointing to some revised job numbers to make its case. the u.s. bureau of labor statistics said yesterday there were nearly 400,000 more jobs created in the previous year that ended in march. that would mean that there are a higher number of jobs than when president obama took office. but the u.s. still has four million fewe
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